Reports show that “more than 50 million Americans [experience] allergies each year,” and that “asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S.” Although many individuals tend to think of outdoor allergens, the ones found in your home can cause you even more harm. Why? First, most people spend the majority of their time at home. Additionally, unless you are taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your family, allergens can quickly build to unhealthy levels in every part of your home (even with regular cleaning).
So many in St. Louis struggle with allergies, and for our clients that struggle with these issues, we take special precautions in choosing the materials and appliances within your custom home. Below are five tips for reducing allergens and making your home more allergy-friendly for those that struggle:
1. Use the proper air filters
Did you know that standard air filters are only designed to keep your HVAC system running smoothly? While most people think that all air filters help with indoor allergens, this is actually a myth. Instead, it is crucial to buy allergen-specific filters for all parts of your home. The Mayo Clinic recommends using air filters that have “a small-particle or HEPA filter.” For the best results, be sure to change all of your home’s air filters once per season (or at least 4 times per year).
2. Switch to allergy-friendly bedding
What you sleep on can cause your allergies to flare up. In order to keep your bedroom allergy-friendly, take steps to reduce your exposure to dust mites, pet dander, and other substances. First, choose a mattress, pillowcases, and bedding that are specifically created to resist allergens. Also, wash your bedding with allergy-friendly detergent at least once per week.
3. Clean flooring and surfaces daily
At any given time, the floors in your home could be contaminated with a combination of outdoor allergens and toxins, pet fur, food debris, and parts of insects. Additionally, surfaces such as your bathroom counters, kitchen counters, and tables are magnets for almost every kind of indoor allergen. For this reason, it is of top importance to clean your floors and surfaces daily. Daily cleaning will regularly remove all of the substances that commonly trigger allergies.
4. Prevent mold
The CDC reports that mold can cause “upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.” For allergy and asthma sufferers, the symptoms can be far worse. Even in new homes, mold can grow anywhere with excess moisture, and can be brought into your home on anything exposed to mold (e.g. pets, shoes). To reduce your risk of exposure, monitor the humidity levels within your home, clean items that come into your home, and repair anything with water damage immediately.
Luckily, for our clients, our homes are built to high performance standards, and have an airtight thermal envelope that prevents moisture and air leakage in the home. Click here to read more about this key difference in how we build homes, and how this can mean a healthier home for you and your family.
5. Control the flow of outdoor air into your home
When allergens are at their peak levels, keeping the outdoor air outside should be one of your top priorities. Pollen can especially be quick to find its way into your home, as it can be brought in through the air, and on clothing, bags, sports equipment, toys, and shoes. To minimize your exposure, keep your garage door, doors to your home, and windows closed when common allergens are at their highest. You can monitor allergen levels on most weather websites and apps.
While it might be impossible to eliminate 100% of indoor allergens, with a better built home by Hibbs Homes, and the strategies listed above, you can certain vastly improve the quality of indoor air, and quality of life for those that suffer with allergies.
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